The British Magazine

During the 1857 uprising, hundreds of sepoys came into Delhi after a  mutiny in Meerut where they killed all the British. In Delhi too they went about killing all the English – men, women, children they could find. By the afternoon, almost all of them in the city had been killed. At around 4 PM, the sepoys went to the Mughal king – Bahadur Shah Zafar to seek his blessing and support for the uprising.
The old king, having very less options, reluctantly agreed to it. As soon as he came back to his quarters after announcing this publicly, there was a huge blast north to the Palace (The Red Fort). It was so strong that it was heard 20 miles away.

The epicenter of this blast was the British Magazine – North India’s largest arsenal of ammunition and guns. Lieutenant Willoughby was defending this Magazine since morning. By the afternoon he was fully surrounded by the sepoys. To prevent such a large cache of arms and ammunition landing in the mutineer’s hands, Willoughby blew up the whole building along with a large mob of the sepoys who were attacking it and of course himself.

What remains of this magazine are the two entrances around 100 meters apart. Kashmiri Gate Post office stands where perhaps  there was a warehouse of the ‘modern’ Enfield rifles which were the primary reason for the 1857 uprising.

Khooni Darwaza

Khooni Darwaza

Khooni Darwaza – the name itself has horror written all over it. Had this place not been in the middle of a road, it could easily have been an ideal place for shooting of a supernatural themed movie. There is already an original story in place for the movie.
Khooni darwaza was originally called Kabuli Darwaza and formed the boundary of Shergarh – the city which was originally built by Humayun and later taken over by Sher Shah Suri. Kabuli Darwaza became Khooni darwaza 300 years later in 1857.

When the British re-captured the city after the sepoy  uprising, Bahadur Shah Zafar – the last Mughal King went into hiding at the Humayun’s tomb along with his family. The British offered to spare his life if he surrendered. He did so. But his sons (who had led forces against the English army) kept on hiding. Some time later, when British came to know about them, they asked them to surrender too. Thinking that their lives would be spared like their father, they surrendered too. The British, meanwhile had no intentions to keep them alive. While Captain Hodson was taking them back to the city, a crowd started gathering, threatening to rescue the princes (this fact is disputed though).
Hodson then stripped the princes and shot them in cold blood at point-blank range. This happened at the Khooni Darwaza.

It is said that the spirit of the princes still haunts the place. Though they did not disturb me but the place does have the haunted look to it. It lies hidden among the trees with an old chowkidar mysteriously sitting there all by himself. While I was clicking some photos, I day dreamed about the chowkidaar slowly walking up to me and in his shaky voice telling me that he was a Mughal descendent and had royal blood in his veins.

Oh Damn. Was that a day dream or did it really happen!!!

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